Category Archives: RIM

RIM’s BlackBerry 7 a simple OS 6.1 rebadge?

RIM may be closer to releasing BlackBerry 7, its new mobile OS, sooner than we thought, though it’s not quite the software revolution we were hoping for. According to CrackBerry‘s sources, RIM intends to launch BlackBerry 6 at its BlackBerry World 2011 event next week; however, rather than being the QNX-based smartphone platform rumored before, it’s expected to be a more straightforward rebrand of what has, until now, been known as BlackBerry 6.1.

BlackBerry 6.1 had been expected to make its debut on devices like the BlackBerry Touch and the Torch 2, offering functionality like mobile hotspot, visual voicemail and NFC. BlackBerry 7, meanwhile, was to be the company’s transition to QNX, as runs on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

What the name change means is still unclear. It’s speculated that RIM is looking to make more of a splash with the OS alongside whatever new hardware it brings to the show next week, and thought BB7 sounded better than BB6.1. Alternatively, it could be looking to better distinguish between the new devices and older handsets, potentially meaning owners of existing BlackBerry phones might not get BlackBerry 7. Whatever RIM has decided, SlashGear will be at BlackBerry World next week to bring back all the details.

A Half-Baked PlayBook is the tip of the Firmware Nightmare

If there’s one message that comes through loud and clear about the BlackBerry PlayBook – both in our review and in others – it’s that RIM’s first tablet is half-baked in its current state. The 7-inch slate is dependent on a phone for half of its key apps, glitchy in more places than it should be, and has left reviewers warning would-be early-adopters that it might even be too early for them to consider, well, adopting. Welcome to the firmware nightmare, where every device is a work-in-progress and nobody is ever quite satisfied.

The PlayBook is just the latest in a growing number of devices pushed to market before they’re fully cooked, with manufacturers selling us on the promise of what their shiny hardware will do however many months down the line, after they’ve had a chance to similarly buff the software. Motorola’s XOOM is another good example, with a non-functioning memory card slot and missing Flash support at launch, but we’re increasingly seeing it in phones and other devices too.

Once upon a time, we’d buy a phone, live with it – and its stock feature-set – for the length of whatever agreement we’d signed up to, and then upgrade to The Next Big Thing. Now, there’s an expectation that our devices will evolve in features, functionality and stability over time: become better tomorrow than the gadget it is today.

That accelerated software cycle has, however, given manufacturers a green card to release before things are entirely ready. Consumers are treated as beta testers, hooked in with hardware and the promise of what that hardware is capable of, with the firmware to actually make all that a reality delivered somewhere down the ownership line. As our own Vincent Nguyen said, buying RIM’s latest is very similar to buying on credit: “Buy our PlayBook now, and we promise to deliver later.”

On the flip side, meanwhile, there’s a fresh sort of upgrade anxiety, a sense that the next great firmware for our phone, or our tablet, or some other gadget is just around the corner. It’s the new obsession, and it leads to all manner of paranoia when that next update isn’t quite as timely as we’d like it. Most carriers and manufacturers have told me horror stories of frenzied consumers baying frantically for the newest software release, whether that be Gingerbread on their phone or iOS on their tablet. The device you have today – the device you chose to buy in the first place – isn’t good enough any more; it’s a short, if obnoxious step to blaming OEM and network for purposefully undermining your user experience. I know of at least one PR person who, after a disgruntled and impatient smartphone owner managed to discover their direct number, called them repeatedly throughout the day accusing them of deliberately withholding their upgrade.

We’re all complicit – users chasing the holy grail of functionality, manufacturers chasing sales – but I can’t help but think that the pendulum has swung too far. When impatience, our own and that of vendors, shifts us from the occasional glitch to entirely absent apps, when we have hardware proudly mentioned on the spec sheet and yet that we can’t actually use, that’s not future-proofing but a false economy. Give me a device that serves its purpose 100-percent of its life, rather than something I’m expected to coddle until the potential catches up to the promise. In the meantime, I’m going to try to expect less from tomorrow and insist on more – even if that means more moderation – from today.

Apple delays BlackBerry PlayBook after touchscreen sweep tip insiders

Apple inadvertently – but, we imagine, with no great remorse – delayed RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook release by a month, according to the latest leaks from Taipei, with touchscreen shortages once again rearing their heads. According to DigiTimes‘ sources, RIM’s original launch schedule was pushed back when it was realized that Apple had already booked most of the available capacity for touch panel production.

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Market watchers have warned of touch panel shortages for several months now, with the increase in demand from tablets such as Apple’s iPad and iPad 2, along with Android rivals from Samsung, Motorola and others, all resulting in an industry-wide scarcity. Apple is believed to have used its significant cash advantage to secure the lion’s share of supplies, leaving rivals to scurry to pick up what they need for their own products.

It’s not the first component delay we’ve heard of impacting the PlayBook. RIM’s original chipset partner was apparently Marvell, but the company jumped ship to the Texas Instruments OMAP4430 mid-development. The change in processor reportedly added an extra six months to the development schedule.

RIM is holding a PlayBook launch event on April 14; I will be there to bring you back all the details.

BlackBerry Messenger Coming on iPhone April 26

BlackBerry Messenger for iOS devices to be released on April 26 in App Store. BBM will be having a new notification system as reported by Rihanna at the MacRumors forum.

RIM had a Social Media conference today in Toronto, and my entire college business and marketing class was invited to the event. RIM’s co-ceo Jim Balsillie revealed that they plan to bring BBM and “other services” to iPhone on April 26 via the app store. Balsillie also revealed that they plan to release an update to the app this summer which will take advantage of a new “notification system”!
Android and iOS users will have limited features in BBM like they can communicate with anyone who has a smartphone using BBM, but they might not be able to share photos, location, or videos as full features are only be available with BlackBerry smartphone users. It is anticipated that RIM may be charging users a one-time fee or even a recurring fee for access to its BBM service on third-party platforms.

BlackBerry opens up the PlayBook tablet to Android apps

The whispers our pals at CrackBerry first planted in our heads last August are true (and again this spring) — Android applications are coming to the BlackBerry Playbook via BlackBerry App World.

We’ll let that sink in for a minute.

Here’s the deal: Any app that runs on Android 2.3 will work, RIM says. There will be a pair of optional “App Players” that provide the runtime for the android applications. There will be compatible APIs, so developers should be able to easily port their apps. The apps will be downloaded from RIM’s App World and run in a secure sandbox. So we’re not talking low-level stuff here.

From the press release:

Developers will simply repackage, code sign and submit their BlackBerry Java and Android apps to BlackBerry App World. Once approved, the apps will be distributed through BlackBerry App World, providing a new opportunity for many developers to reach BlackBerry PlayBook users. Users will be able to download both the app players and the BlackBerry Java and Android apps from BlackBerry App World.

The PlayBook goes on sale April 19, but Android applications won’t be able to run at launch. Instead, RIM will show off the new App Players and demo Android apps at BlackBerry World in Orlando on May 3-5.

Said RIM president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis:

“The BlackBerry PlayBook is an amazing tablet. The power that we have embedded creates one of the most compelling app experiences available in a mobile computing device today. The upcoming addition of BlackBerry Java and Android apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook on BlackBerry App World will provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will also showcase the versatility of the platform.”

So, yeah. Android applications will be able to run on the PlayBook. But the apps can’t be all that deep, and will be running in some sort of emulation layer. But perhaps it’s a all a middle ground to entice Android developers to go all-in with the BlackBerry NDK and do real ports, and not just emulation. We’ll just have to see. Full presser’s after the break.

More coverage at CrackBerry.com

RIM Expands Application Ecosystem for BlackBerry PlayBook

  • BlackBerry PlayBook to support BlackBerry Java and Android apps
  • Native C/C++ development support added, in addition to HTML5, Flash and AIR support
  • Support from leading game engines: Ideaworks Labs (AirPlay) and Unity Technologies (Unity 3)
  • BlackBerry PlayBook becomes a new market opportunity for all the developers who have already created over 25,000 BlackBerry Java apps and more than 200,000 Android apps

WATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – March 24, 2011) – Developers wanting to bring their new and existing apps to the highly anticipated BlackBerry® PlayBookTM tablet will soon have additional tools and options to enhance and expand their commercial opportunities. Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) today announced plans to greatly expand the application ecosystem for the BlackBerry PlayBook. The BlackBerry PlayBook is scheduled to launch in the U.S. and Canada on April 19.

RIM will launch two optional “app players” that provide an application run-time environment for BlackBerry Java® apps and Android v2.3 apps. These new app players will allow users to download BlackBerry Java apps and Android apps from BlackBerry App World and run them on their BlackBerry PlayBook.

In addition, RIM will shortly release the native SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook enabling C/C++ application development on the BlackBerry® Tablet OS. For game-specific developers, RIM is also announcing that it has gained support from two leading game development tooling companies, allowing developers to use the cross-platform game engines from Ideaworks Labs and Unity Technologies to bring their games to the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Support for BlackBerry Java and Android Apps

“The BlackBerry PlayBook is an amazing tablet. The power that we have embedded creates one of the most compelling app experiences available in a mobile computing device today,” said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. “The upcoming addition of BlackBerry Java and Android apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook on BlackBerry App World will provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will also showcase the versatility of the platform.”

Developers currently building for the BlackBerry or Android platforms will be able to quickly and easily port their apps to run on the BlackBerry Tablet OS thanks to a high degree of API compatibility. The new optional app players will be available for download from BlackBerry App World and will be placed in a secure “sandbox” on the BlackBerry PlayBook where the BlackBerry Java or Android apps can be run.

Developers will simply repackage, code sign and submit their BlackBerry Java and Android apps to BlackBerry App World. Once approved, the apps will be distributed through BlackBerry App World, providing a new opportunity for many developers to reach BlackBerry PlayBook users. Users will be able to download both the app players and the BlackBerry Java and Android apps from BlackBerry App World.

The BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry Tablet OS are built on the QNX® Neutrino® microkernel architecture with a 1GHz dual core processor and a leading OpenGL solution, which allows RIM to make this incredibly broad platform support possible.

BlackBerry PlayBook users and developers who are interested in seeing the new app players for BlackBerry Java and Android apps can see demos at BlackBerry World in Orlando, Florida (May 3 to 5, 2011) (www.blackberryworld.com).

BlackBerry Tablet OS Development Tools

The BlackBerry Tablet OS already supports an incredibly robust platform with support for Web development standard HTML5, through the BlackBerry® WebWorksTM SDK for Tablet OS, and Adobe® AIR®, through the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR. The BlackBerry Tablet OS is built from the ground up to run WebKit and Adobe® Flash® as well, giving developers a fast and true Web experience to leverage.

RIM is also announcing today that the BlackBerry Tablet OS Native Development Kit (NDK), which is currently in limited alpha release, will go into open Beta by this summer and be demonstrated at BlackBerry World. The BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK will allow developers to build high-performance, multi-threaded, native C/C++ applications with industry standard GNU toolchains. Developers can create advanced 2D and 3D applications and special effects by leveraging programmable shaders available in hardware-accelerated OpenGL ES 2.0.

Other features of the BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK will allow developers to:

  • Take advantage of the QNX POSIX library support and C/C++ compliance for quick and easy application porting and for creating native extensions for both BlackBerry and Android applications
  • Easily integrate device events like gesture swipes and touch screen inputs
  • Integrate the BlackBerry Tablet OS environment into existing code management and build systems using industry standard Eclipse CDT (C/C++ Development Tools)
  • Leverage work done in standard C/C++ to make it easier to bring applications to the BlackBerry Tablet OS
  • Find and fix bugs quickly with provided debug and analysis tools

“The response to the BlackBerry PlayBook from the developer community has been exceptional. Our commitment to supporting HTML5 and Adobe AIR development has resonated and spurred developers to create fun and innovative applications for BlackBerry PlayBook users,” said David Yach, Chief Technology Officer, Software at Research In Motion. “The upcoming BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK beta will add C/C++ tools to our repertoire and gives developers one of the broadest and deepest platforms to develop on.”

Gaming Engines

Building on the power of the BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK, RIM is working with leading gaming and application development technology providers such as Ideaworks Labs and Unity Technologies to implement their native engines and application development platforms. Developers will be able to take advantage of these engines when building games and other applications for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The Ideaworks Labs Airplay SDK is expected to include support for the BlackBerry Tablet OS soon, making it easy for publishers and developers to use their existing code to bring their games and apps to the BlackBerry PlayBook.

“Supporting a new OS can be a challenge for developers,” says Alex Caccia, President of Ideaworks Labs, “however, integration of the BlackBerry Tablet OS with the Airplay SDK makes this a non-issue. We think this is a far-sighted move by RIM: the BlackBerry PlayBook is a great device for games and applications, and combining this with content distribution via BlackBerry App World brings an exciting new ecosystem for developers.”

RIM has also been working closely with Unity Technologies, providers of the highly popular, multi-platform Unity development platform and Union, the firm’s games distribution service. Through Union, dozens of high-quality Unity-authored games are slated to make their way to BlackBerry App World for the BlackBerry Playbook.

“With a sharp focus on the multimedia experience, very powerful hardware, and fantastic games in the pipeline, the BlackBerry Playbook has all the right ingredients to be a mainstream hit,” said Brett Seyler, GM of Union at Unity Technologies. “Through Union, Unity developers have an opportunity to reach a new audience and grow with another great new platform.”

Availability

The new app players for the BlackBerry PlayBook are expected to be available from BlackBerry App World this summer. More information and demonstrations of the new app players will be shared at BlackBerry World. The BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK will be available in beta later this year and will also be showcased at BlackBerry World.

Useful Links

For more information on the BlackBerry Tablet OS and BlackBerry PlayBook developing, visit http://us.blackberry.com/developers/tablet/

To see the BlackBerry Tablet OS in action running conceptual applications from The Astonishing Tribe, please visithttp://www.youtube.com/blackberry#p/c/8D8C3A23664E6761/5/uH7NKhNyygw andhttp://www.youtube.com/blackberry#p/c/8D8C3A23664E6761/0/mWJG-sB7H4Y.

For RIM insights into developing for the BlackBerry Platform, visithttp://devblog.blackberry.com or follow @BlackBerryDev on Twitter.

Visit the BlackBerry Developer Zone at www.blackberry.com/developers for the latest news, information and updates for BlackBerry developers.

Visit the BlackBerry Developer Video Library at http://www.blackberry.com/go/developervideolibrary to view a variety of instructional videos.

Sign up for the BlackBerry Developer Newsletter athttp://na.blackberry.com/eng/developers/resources/newsletter.jsp.

For the latest news and information about the BlackBerry Developer Conference visitwww.blackberrydeveloperconference.com.

About Research In Motion

Further evidence that RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook will support Android apps

A few days ago, Andrew reported that Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet might be able to run Android apps when it’s released. Anonymous sources claimed RIM was working on a virtual machine that would enable this, and later the developer ShopSavvy discovered something curious in its logs: a series of old BlackBerry devices had been running the company’s Android app.

Now further (circumstantial) evidence has surfaced that the BlackBerry PlayBook indeed will support Android applications. There were of course plenty of demos during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this month, and some of them showed the PlayBook. During one of these demos, an RIM representative casually stated that “we’ll also support Android apps.” This can be heard about 14 seconds into the video below. It’s not proof – but where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

For RIM to support Android apps on its own mobile platforms may seem strange, but it might be what the company needs in order to remain competitive in a world taken over by Google’s OS. Perhaps it will be enough to convince some of the Blackberry users that currently consider getting an Android device instead to remain loyal?

Do you think adding support for Android apps on its mobile devices would be a smart move by RIM?

Via [CrackBerry]

BlackBerry Storm 3 First Video Leak

RIM’s much anticipated BlackBerry Storm 3 specs and details were leaked last month, but today is the first time a video of the device has surfaced. The video shows what appears to be a Verizon prototype with the company’s logo and theming.

 

The Storm 3 will feature the highest resolution display on a BlackBerry to-date and has a 3.7 inch 800 x 480 WVGA capacitive touchscreen, 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor, and a 5MP camera capable of 720p HD video.

Previously we noted that the Storm 3 is set for a September 2011 release. But more recent news suggests that the device could ship to Verizon as early as summer.

 

 

[via Electronista]

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